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Olfaction made simple-using inhalers and diffusers in aromatherapy

How does the inhalation of essential oils work in the body?

What is the science behind how and why it works?

Aromatherapy is about our sense of smell or olfaction.  Human behavior is influenced by smell.  The smell of baking bread or rotisserie chicken in a grocery store.  The floral scents of roses and lavender, the citrus of oranges, lemons and limes, the smell of conifers and pines.

We breathe in the essential oils (which are molecules), our nose has cilia which transports these molecules up to our sensory nerves called the olfactory nerve. This olfactory nerve enters the skull, connects to the limbic system and the olfactory cortex.

Well, that’s great but I just want to use my diffuser!

Let’s talk about diffusers and inhalers.

The easiest way to start with aromatherapy and essential oils is to use an inhaler.

Purchasing inhalers is easy; your favorite essential oil supplier or Amazon sell them.  They are cheap, and you can reuse them for your own personal use. In the beginning of my aromatherapy journey, I started with these 3 inhalers: one with ginger, one with lavender, and one with peppermint.   I used antacids or acid reducing medications…you know that purple pill.  My use of OTC medications has all but ceased except on a rare occasion, then I will use a chewable antacid.  Peppermint is great for keeping alert while driving. One time I sprayed peppermint oil in my eye, but that story is for another day! The point is–we all start somewhere…and safety is important. 

Inhalers have 4 parts, the wick, the tube, the cover and the cap.

To make an inhaler:  place the cotton wick in a bowl.  For an adult add 10-15 drops of essential oil to the bowl. (for children, use 7-8 drops of kid safe oils: lavender, sweet orange, cedarwood, etc).  Move the wick around with a clean tweezers to soak up the oil.  Place the wick in the tube of the inhaler-the part with the holes. Put on the cap, snapping it tightly and put the tube in the case, twisting closed. Label the inhaler: For example: Ginger for my belly, Peppermint to keep me awake; Lavender for relaxing and many more.

Like I said, I reuse my inhalers by disinfecting the inhaler parts, and use a new wick every so often.  I keep them in an essential oil bag in my purse when I travel. Yay TSA!

I just made an inhaler for a nagging headache of almost equal drops (total 12) of frankincense, sweet basil and spike lavender. Surely helped ease that!

What about a diffuser?

Using the diffuser is just as easy!  Read the manufacturer directions on how many drops to use in the diffuser as they come in all different sizes.

The Aromahead Institute ACP course, taught to diffuse 30 minutes with the diffuser on, then 30 minutes off for safety reasons.  For infants, it is recommended to diffuse and hour before having the child in the space, such as putting them to bed.  Always have an escape route for your pets, remember that they might not like or be sensitive to the smells you are diffusing!

Happy Blending,

Crystal.

Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.

Proverbs 16:3
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What oils can I use to prepare for back to school?

Is there any way essential oils can protect from germs when going back to school? Is it hype? Or fact?

What is safe for children?

Hydrosols are a safe way to go, and trauma oil with no essential oils added are great for the little ones—infants and children under 5.  If you are unsure, these are also a great starting point for school-aged children.  Hydrosols are easy to find and great for topical skin use.

This post is going to focus on oils that can help keep us safer. Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and Siberian Fir (Abies siberica) and how they are airborne antimicrobials. I use roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) and cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) frequently in blends for adults and children.

Roman chamomile has an apple-like scent, not in an overpowering way. I like the oil for its antispasmodic and digestive therapeutic properties. I have a blend that I use for diarrhea. Roman chamomile has analgesic actions too.

Atlas cedarwood is an oil that I substitute in place of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) a lot. It is great for the cough and cold season. I have a couple of diffuser blends with cedarwood, for when they are sick, as an inhaler for allergies, or on a shower tab for congestion relief.

Orange (Citrus sinensis) – I love orange!  Who doesn’t? Kids love it.  Orange essential oils is not phototoxic, it is safe for use with children in blends.  Orange and lemon are in the Monoterpene chemical family.

Orange oil does not have the research to back the antiviral properties as much as the major component that is in the oil does.  That is d-limonene which is at a percentage of 96% in orange oil.  D-limonene activates white blood cells which are important for protecting against illness and disease. 

White blood cells are also called leukocytes. Think of white blood cells as your immunity cells, always at war flowing through your bloodstream to fight viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders that threaten your health.

Lemon (Citrus limon)  Is another citrus that most people recognize.  The difference between orange and lemon is that lemon essential oils is photo toxic.  Which means that using the oil then going outside in the sun is going to be a problem.  Keep the dilution under 2 % dilution to be safe. 

The chemical components in lemon oil are also d-limonene at 65%, y-terpinene at 10%, and b-pinene at 11%.  As with orange, lemon has the antiviral properties due to the d-limonene.  The b-pinene also has analgesic actions and the y-terpinene.

Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) Not in the citrus family, but the Lamiaceae family. Love the mints!  Peppermint is a monoterpenol, which is high in menthol and menthone.

Studies have shown that peppermint has antibacterial actions because of these chemical components.  Peppermint is said to also have an antiviral potential, helping to stimulate immune function.

Remember– to follow good hygiene  practices first to keep everyone healthy.

Many of you probably have favorite products with lavender.  From room sprays and diffuser blends to lotions and butters, lavender can cover a range of issues.  Lavender has so many uses and because it can be used neat or diluted it is great to carry in your bag.  From headaches and muscle aches to sore throats–dab lavender neat on a blemish, on the temple for a headache;  use a few drops of lavender in a carrier oil for a bedtime massage;  or use in a lotion base for a sore muscle blend.

Recipes for simple inhalers

An inhaler is a great way to use essential oils without any mess for grade school children.

My granddaughter loves and asks to make her own inhalers.

For boosting immunity (ages 6-12):     3 drops lavender, 3 drops sweet orange, 2 drops lemon in an inhaler.

For congestion in an inhaler:       3 drops cedarwood, 3 drops lavender, 2 drops tea tree.

For getting rid of germs:     3 drops cedarwood, 2 drops orange, 2 drops lemon and 1 drop lavender in an inhaler.

Making stock blends for any of these combinations is a timesaving way to have oils ready to use when needed.  All you have to do then is add a few drops to a diffuser when your family is sick.

Research and a few common oils can help protect everyone when returning to the classroom.

Be ready for the start of school.

Happy Blending, Crystal.